Enter the Zuckerverse? Social networks multiply with new names for Facebook

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addresses the public on “the challenges of protecting free speech while fighting online hate speech, fighting disinformation and privacy and security political data ”at a forum hosted by the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown University (GU Politics) and the McCourt School of Public Policy in Washington, USA on October 17, 2019. REUTERS / Carlos Jasso / File Photo

October 20 (Reuters) – Zuckerverse. Timesuck. Faceplant.

These are just a few of the suggestions posted online following news that Facebook is considering renaming itself with a new group name. The company declined to comment on rumors or speculation, of course, but the Twitterati had no issues.

The debate has gone from sane to crazy, to strange.

“Meta” was one of the more subdued trending suggestions, referring to Facebook’s reported desire to assume a name that focuses on the metaverse, a virtual environment where users can hang out.

Bookface, Facegram, Facetagram, FreeFace, FreeTalk, World Changer.

On the wilder side, Twitter user Dave Pell drew a comparison to musician Kanye West who recently changed his name to “Ye”.

“It would be great if Facebook changed its name to Ye,” he said.

Several humorous suggestions reflected online speculation that the alleged rebranding was driven by founder Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to make Facebook “cool” once again.

The platform has been deserted by many younger users who have switched to apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, and is increasingly populated by older people.

“Teenage Wasteland,” suggested a spirit.

“The elderly app because that’s what we younger people call it,” student Vittoria Esteves in Rome told Reuters.

“Boomerville,” Marco suggested, referring to the so-called baby boomers born in the years after WWII.

‘STREISAND EFFECT’

The online naming feast was sparked by a report on tech site Verge that a newly appointed group would act as a parent for all of the company’s brands, including Facebook itself, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and mirror emphasis on virtual and augmented reality.

An announcement is expected next week, according to the report.

However, many of the suggestions reflect public concerns about how the company handles user safety and hate speech. Internal documents leaked by a whistleblower formed the basis of a hearing in the US Senate last week.

“Fakebook”, for example. Tracebook.

Others were skeptical about whether a name change would be enough to hurt the growing legal and regulatory scrutiny that has tarnished the company’s reputation.

“That will be the Barbra Streisand effect going on,” said Thomas van der Hoven, a 20-year-old Glasgow student, referring to the phenomenon where looking to remove something inadvertently spurs popular interest.

“So they’re going to try to change it, and then it’s just going to highlight that they’re changing it. Why are they changing that?” he added. “So it’s probably going to spit in their faces at some point.”

Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Antonio Denti; Additional reports by Reuters newsrooms; Writing by Joséphine Mason; Editing by Pravin Char

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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